Great Cruise - Left A Positive Impression of NCL: Norwegian Spirit Cruise Review by FePerk

Norwegian Spirit 5
Member Since 2010

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Great Cruise - Left A Positive Impression of NCL

Sail Date: September 2012
Destination: Europe - Western Mediterranean
Embarkation: Barcelona
We were a group of two couples on this cruise together, and had a terrific time. My opinion of Norwegian Cruise Lines, based on 3 prior cruises, was positive, but I have even higher regard for NCL after this cruise. I've outlined my thoughts on each port as well as some summary comments below.

Ephesus: "Simply Ephesus". Ephesus is a very impressive archeological site to visit - don't miss it.

Athens: "The Acropolis & Leisure". Understand that any excursion is a crapshoot - if you have a poor guide, you're in trouble. We had a poor guide in Athens - the worst I've ever had. We left the group and focused on the "leisure" time as soon as we could, and it saved the day for us. The Acropolis is a must-see destination, but I hope you have a better guide.

Summary comments:

Ship: In great shape, very comfortable, excellent public spaces.

Room: Very happy. We were in 5596, Deck 5, Ocean view picture window. Good size, very comfortable, More quiet.

Food: Fine to good. I didn't have anything that was poor. And, I thought the food in the buffet had improved significantly - we ate there a few nights when we were tired from the day. We ate in Le Bistro (excellent - worth it) and Cagney's (good - not worth it).

Crew: Excellent. The ship's captain was outstanding. His daily announcements had the passengers rolling in laughter - very personable and forthright. His handling of the outbreak of Norovirus onboard was proactive, firm, and appropriate. I'm sure some passengers were upset about not being able to serve themselves at the buffet, but the captain's actions prevented the outbreak from spreading. I was on a ship 2 years ago with a Norovirus outbreak, and the lack of action by the captain and cruise line resulted in 40% of the passengers being infected. Kudos to NCL and our captain!

My lessons learned (I hope they are of value to you):

1. If you are going to exchange money on the ship, from dollars to euros, do it once, in large quantities, because you will pay a set fee for the exchange.

2. If you drink wine, buy the wine package. The package price was the best I've ever seen on a cruise.

3. If you drink beer, be sure to hit the 2-for-1 at Henry's Pub from 4-6pm. Buy 6 at a time and stock up for days in advance (they give you a bucket for your cabin).

4. The Windows dining room is quieter than The Garden and easier to get into. Both have the same menu.

5. If you like to be on deck when the ship leaves port, a great place is on Deck 11 or 10, at the very rear of the ship, where you will have a great vantage point for pictures.

6. Want a dark, quiet, private place to hang out and read? Maharini's nightclub, all the way forward on Deck 7, is awesome.

Would I take this cruise again? Absolutely. Would I recommend it to others? Absolutely. My congratulations to NCL and the crew - we had a great time! Less

Published 10/11/12

Cabin review: OB5596 Mid-Ship Oceanview Picture Window

We loved this room. Far enough away from the stairs and elevator so there was no noise. No noise from above or below. No odd late night / early morning sounds. Good size, good layout, excellent sized bathroom. Really liked the picture window. Location mid-ship was great for getting to the restaurants and theater. Among the best rooms we've ever stayed in on a cruise ship.

Read All Mid-Ship Oceanview Picture Window (OB) Reviews >>

Port and Shore Excursions

Barcelona: We flew in the day before the cruise left, and I highly recommend it to you as well. It gives you an extra day to adjust to the time change, but more importantly, Barcelona is simply an awesome city to visit and you'll be happy you gave yourself a bit more time to roam. We did a lot of walking on our first day, covering all the side streets on either side of La Rambla - wonderful. On the day of departure we took a "City Highlights" tour with Barcelona Day Tours, and it was excellent - highly recommended. One of the big pluses is that they picked us up with our luggage at the hotel and delivered us to the ship at the end of the tour, at no extra charge, eliminating the need for a hotel-to-ship transfer. We stayed in the HCC Montblanc hotel as part of the NCL pre-cruise package. It is OK at best - alright for one night.
Read 1729 Barcelona Reviews

Uffizi Museum

Florence: We took the "Exclusive Pisa & Florence with Uffizi Gallery" excursion. Pricey, but we were in a group of 8 people and had a superb guide. Seeing the Uffizi gallery, with a guide, was great. very happy with this excursion.

Blue Mosque

Istanbul: We took the "Ottoman Treasures" excursion, which was excellent. The Blue Mosque is beautiful, as is the Tokapi Palace. We had plenty of time at the Grand Bazaar to shop. Crowd control at the Tokapi Palace is terrible - it was my sole "Ugly American" moment on the cruise when I chewed out some young adults for jumping the long line waiting to see the jewel collection. Exercise patience in Istanbul.... Overall it was a great excursion - highly recommended. Recommendation: Don't try to do Istanbul on your own. Some fellow passengers tried and had a miserable time, given the traffic congestion.

Marseille Tour

Toulon - Provence: Of the ports visited on the cruise, Toulon would be at the bottom of my list. We took the "Marseilles and Aix-en-Provence" excursion. The cathedral in Marseilles is gorgeous and has breathtaking views, but Aix-en-Provence was forgettable with the exception of the street market on Cours de Mirabou. Pretty, but boring.

Windmills Walking Tour

Mykonos: Understand that your schedule in Mykonos is very short. I took the "Mykonos on Foot" excursion, but it was poor. The rest of my party took the excursion to Delos, which was much better, but everyone agreed we would have been better off spending our time on our own - Mykonos is small and can be covered in a matter of hours.


Naples: "Flavors of Sorrento and Pompeii" excursion. The quality of this excursion was a pleasant surprise. Sit on the right-hand side of the bus on the way out to get the best pictures! We had time to shop in Sorrento, and I would say it had the best opportunities for gifts and decent shopping of any port, perhaps with the exception of the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul. The lunch at the farm was outstanding, and very relaxing. We had visited Pompeii previously, but this tour was better than the first. Great excursion.
Read 115 Sorrento Reviews

Sistine Chapel

Rome: We took the "Ultimate Rome" excursion. Again, pricey, but it was excellent and we saw a ton of Rome, in a small group of 6, with an outstanding guide. Great tour.

St. Mark's Square

Venice: We took the "St. Mark's at Night and Gondola Serenade" excursion through the ship on the first day. St. Mark's is stunning. We stayed at the Crowne Plaza as part of the NCL post-cruise package, and it was good. Taking the train from Quarto d'Altino into Venice was a piece of cake.

Venice Walking Tour

We took the "Dorsoduro Discovery" walking tour with Roberta curiel of "Walks in Venice" tours. Our tour was simply outstanding, and I highly recommend Walks in Venice - they have a number of tour options.

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